Information for Patients
Also called: Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
Lymphoma is a cancer of a part of the immune system called the lymph system. There are many types of lymphoma. One type is Hodgkin disease. The rest are called non-Hodgkin lymphomas.
Non-Hodgkin lymphomas begin when a type of white blood cell, called a T cell or B cell, becomes abnormal. The cell divides again and again, making more and more abnormal cells. These abnormal cells can spread to almost any other part of the body. Most of the time, doctors don't know why a person gets non-Hodgkin lymphoma. You are at increased risk if you have a weakened immune system or have certain types of infections.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma can cause many symptoms, such as
- Swollen, painless lymph nodes in the neck, armpits or groin
- Unexplained weight loss
- Soaking night sweats
- Coughing, trouble breathing or chest pain
- Weakness and tiredness that don't go away
- Pain, swelling or a feeling of fullness in the abdomen
Your doctor will diagnose lymphoma with a physical exam, blood tests, a chest x-ray, and a biopsy. Treatments include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, biological therapy, or therapy to remove proteins from the blood. Targeted therapy uses substances that attack cancer cells without harming normal cells. Biologic therapy boosts your body's own ability to fight cancer. If you don't have symptoms, you may not need treatment right away. This is called watchful waiting.
NIH: National Cancer Institute
- After chemotherapy - discharge (Medical Encyclopedia)
- B-cell leukemia/lymphoma panel (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Bone marrow transplant (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Burkitt lymphoma (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Lymph node biopsy (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma - children (Medical Encyclopedia)
Mycosis fungoides Mycosis fungoides is the most common form of a type of blood cancer called cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Cutaneous T-cell lymphomas occur when certain white blood cells, called T cells, become cancerous; these cancers characteristically affect the skin, causing different types of skin lesions. Although the skin is involved, the skin cells themselves are not cancerous. Mycosis fungoides usually occurs in adults over age 50, although affected children have been identified.Mycosis fungoides may progress slowly through several stages, although not all people with the condition progress through all stages. Most affected individuals initially develop skin lesions called patches, which are flat, scaly, pink or red areas on the skin that can be itchy. Cancerous T cells, which cause the formation of patches, are found in these lesions. The skin cells themselves are not cancerous; the skin problems result when cancerous T cells move from the blood into the skin. Patches are most commonly found on the lower abdomen, upper thighs, buttocks, and breasts. They can disappear and reappear or remain stable over time. In some affected individuals, patches progress to plaques, the next stage of mycosis fungoides.Plaques are raised lesions that are usually reddish, purplish, or brownish in color and itchy. Plaques commonly occur in the same body regions as patches. While some plaques arise from patches, others develop on their own, and an affected person can have both patches and plaques simultaneously. As with patches, cancerous T cells are found in plaques. Plaques can remain stable or can develop into tumors. Not everyone with patches or plaques develops tumors.The tumors in mycosis fungoides, which are composed of cancerous T cells, are raised nodules that are thicker and deeper than plaques. They can arise from patches or plaques or occur on their own. Mycosis fungoides was so named because the tumors can resemble mushrooms, a type of fungus. Common locations for tumor development include the upper thighs and groin, breasts, armpits, and the crook of the elbow. Open sores may develop on the tumors, often leading to infection.Although rare, the cancerous T cells can spread to other organs, including the lymph nodes, spleen, liver, and lungs. Spread to other organs can occur in any stage of mycosis fungoides but is most common in the tumor stage. In addition, affected individuals have an increased risk of developing another lymphoma or other type of cancer.